‘My own Frenchie’, Lulue, gave me a wonderful book for my birthday called Parisiennes – A celebration of French Women, published by Flammarion. It is full of beautiful images of Parisian women going about their daily life, with chapters titled ‘Love’, ‘Motherhood’, ‘Appetite’, ‘Work and Play’, ‘Out and About’, ‘Rebellion’, ‘Elegance’ and ‘Flirtation’. Each section is opened with an essay by a notable Frenchwoman: journalists, writers, editors and a film actress.
These images from the last century are endlessly fascinating to me. I always love pouring over black and white photography books, particularly when the subject is of a societal nature, and here there are pictures of women of all ages, from all walks of life.
“No one looks more natural than the Parisienne. For her, elegance is simple.” – Carole Bouquet
So much mystique surrounds the Frenchwoman still today as ever before. Carole Bouquet in her essay on elegance says:
All cities have their own sense of style but the elegance of the Parisienne is recognised the world over. This elegance, seemingly effortless, is nonetheless something of a paradox.
No one looks more natural than the Parisienne. For her, elegance is simple. She moves and walks with feline grace, nonchalant. She seems to take her own appearance for granted. It doesn’t preoccupy her; it’s just right for the person she is…
Well, I don’t think the Frenchwoman has truly cornered the market on elegance, although perhaps she is the most practised – because she in fact does care about what appearance she presents to her world. But I should not dare to go so far as to say it is her raison d’etre… Lulue might kick me.
Scroll down to see more images – I couldn’t decide which were my favourite, there were so many.